Baan Sabaijai 3 Year Anniversary

Forty Scandinavians and other well-wishers showed up at Baan Sabaijai in Pattaya for a late breakfast around the pool on Saturday 3 February to celebrate the three year anniversary of the unique Norwegian institution.
Later, twice as many gathered for the dinner celebrations in the evening, where they were entertained by among others a beautiful solo performance on harp by the Chinese harpist Tong Juan Wang.
In between was a full day of interesting lectures and activities.
In the morning, the dynamic creator of the unique concept of Baan Sabaijai, the Norwegian Tor Oskar Jørgensen – in short just Oskar – welcomed everybody and then introduced the guests to the members of the board of Baan Sabaijai, Arild, Bjørn, Eigil and Tove.
Oskar Jørgensen then went on to introduce the three long staying residents of Baan Sabaijai, Beate, Øyvind, and Stig, and all the staff members, among others the foreigners Bernt and Martin and the Thai staff Na, Tey, Knee, Bee, Luk and Yod.
Danish physiotherapist Martin Sandfeld Moisen then started the first of the lectures of the day by explaining how many Norwegians in Thailand may in fact qualify for 24 free physiotherapy treatments at Baan Sabaijai without knowing it. What it takes is a medical statement from your doctor in Norway and a membership of NAV – the Norwegian social system. Most Norwegians are NAV members, as NAV is a merger of three former organizations, the National Insurance organization, the National Employment Service and the municipal Social Welfare System. 
Martin went on to explain a bit about what physiotherapy treatments Baan Sabaijai offers, before the guest had short break.
Then Dr Rosakow took over to explain about her alternative medical treatment. This is also offered at Baan Sabaijai as well as at her own treatment center in Baan Chang near Rayong.
Finally, Kurt Blomquist lectured on the many fascinating fruits of Thailand. Kurt has recently published a book about these tropical fruits because so many Scandinavians want to know more about the amazing delicacies for sale in any market all over Thailand – and still find it so surprisingly difficult to get any substantial information about them.
After a break of a few hours, some eighty guests came back to continue the celebration in the evening. The tables around the pool had in the meantime been decorated for the stylish Anniversary dinner where the performance by the harpist Tong Juan Wang was a major highlight. The incredibly crisp sound of her harp weaving itself into the stillness of the black velvet tropical night made her performance an unforgettably beautiful experience.

Norwegian background
Before moving to Thailand, Oskar Jorgensen had successfully established and for ten years run the private enterprise PROFF – an abbreviation of Prosjekt Felles Framtid AS. Proff remains an active organization in Norway with five institutions dedicated to take care of handicapped people or others who needs to have care staff available 24 hours a day.
“We run a very special kind of work shift at Proff whereby the staff works a full two and a half day – 60 hours – in one stretch and then have five days off,” he explains.
“On top of this, staff is required during the year to work two extra shifts. These shifts we use when once a year we invite all the patients and all the staff with children and spouses on a week long visit – but without pay – to somewhere abroad like Greece or Canary Island.”
“In 2000 we tried to have these working holidays in Thailand and everybody liked it so much that they didn’t want to go anywhere else in the future,” he explains.
“So the next year we experimented with leaving me to stay with two patients and we saw that this worked out fine. Then we bought this small hotel and started redecorating it to accommodate our mentally and also often physically handicapped patients. And now, here we are!”

Better lives and public saving
Tor Oskar Jorgensen explains, that the Baan Sabaijai concept of bringing Norwegians in need of intensive care to Thailand works so well for Norway because a Norwegian person who receives social benefits like a pension or a permanent care for a mental handicap can keep receiving these social benefits regardless whether he or she lives in Norway or in Thailand. In comparison, if this person is a Dane or a Swede, he or she will punished by those countries with a considerable reduction in the benefits they receive if they move to Thailand.
“In Norway, the state transfers an amount to each municipality for every handicapped person living in this municipality. If the municipality pays for the patient’s stay and treatment in Thailand, the municipality in fact pays less for this than the amount they receive from the state,” he explains.
“For the patient the difference if a much higher quality of life with the better weather and the more activity option they enjoy in Pattaya. For the relatives it also suddenly becomes more attractive to visit the family member. Instead of dutifully going to see him or her every second month for a day, they now come out for a week and spend a lot more quality time together during their vacation than they did before.”
Based on the success of Baan Sabaijai through the past three years, Tor Oskar Jørgensen and his board of advisors are now developing plans to build an extension on the plot next to the hotel to facilitate more guests on shorter or longer stays and similar hotel institutions are planned for Hua Hin and Phuket.

About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

View all posts by Gregers Møller

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